IF YOU NEEDED another reason not to feed wild birds, and especially not to share your picnic food or fish and chips with them, then this is it.
A recent study has shown that 10% of seagull droppings contain Enterococcus bacteria. The scary part is that these bacteria are resistant to Vancomycin, often known as the last resort antibiotic when treating resistant bacterial infections. See www.livescience.com.
It isn't known why this is occurring, but widespread inappropriate use of antibiotics in food production may be contributory.
A similar proportion of wild parrot species have Psittacosis-causing organisms in their droppings. This nasty lung infection can be fatal, and patients may also develop brain abscesses and heart valve damage. The infection can even result from inhalation of dried droppings, for example when mowing lawns. Attracting large numbers of these birds to your property by feeding them regularly certainly increases your risk of developing this disease.
So remember: a container of fresh water can be life-saving for birds during dry periods and doesn’t cause the ecological imbalance that artificial feeding does. Keep your food for yourself.
WORDS AND PICS Tony and Denyse Allsop
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